Senator Feinstein Promises Action on Gun Control. Can Congress Deliver?

In the wake of the horrific tragedy in Newton, Connecticut, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif) announced she would introduce a bill re-instating the federal ban on assault weapons on the first day of the new Congress in January.

The assault weapons ban was originally enacted during the Clinton administration. A decade later the Bush administration allowed it to lapse.

President Obama “is going to have a bill to lead on,” Feinstein said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” The bill would aim to take “weapons of war off the streets of our cities.” “It can be done,” she added. “It will ban the sale, the transfer, the importation and the possession, not retroactively, prospectively. And it will ban the same for big clips, drums or strips of more than 10 bullets.”

It should come as no surprise that Feinstein is stepping up on this issue. She was a prominent sponsor of the original ban and is considered a leading gun control advocate in Congress.  And frankly, this is an issue where women will need to take the lead. The same socially-repressive groups that embrace unfettered access to guns actively legislate against women’s autonomy, and both policies play out on the lives of women and children across this country in unspeakable tragedies. This is a feminist issue and requires a feminist response.

It’s a first step. But we can do better.

Feinstein’s proposal would tackle the sale of assault weapons in the future, but does nothing to get rid of those already in circulation. And the same is true for high capacity magazines and clips. With the country already awash in these kinds of weapons and ammunition already, Feinstein’s measure is a start but leaves open the question of what to do with the weapons we already have.

We  can’t afford to let this last tragedy go unanswered, so Feinstein’s efforts need to be supported while they are also critiqued. The bill needs to move forward because what we know from these kinds of shootings is the next one will only be more gruesome, more violent. And what can be worse than Sandy Hook?


Related Stories:

A Timeline of Mass Shooting In the US Since Columbine

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5 Reasons School Shootings Make Me Want To Teach Even More


Photo from brianch via flickr.


Winn Adams
Winn A4 years ago

I hope like hell she can but we must keep the pressure on all elected officials or this will never happen.

Nick Andrews
Nico Smart4 years ago

Good morning David, that is a good idea. We need to fix the criminal check system so that felons in any of the states or territories or terrorist watch list people cannot slip through the system. But we need to make sure that once a person is cleared of suspicion, they are immediately removed from the restricted lists.

Val D.
Val D4 years ago

Gun Control that is modern and responsible - hello computers! - does work. Sudafed is more regulated than guns. Let's make it happen people: call your senators, representatives, etc.

Duane B.
.4 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Mary Beth M.
MaryBeth M4 years ago

This bill, much like the Assault Weapons Ban of 1994-2004, would ban some assault weapons while exempting many others. It is the equivalent of applying a bandaid to a gunshot wound in an effort to staunch the bleeding. Much like the AWB, the results will be mixed, as gun crimes from only the banned weapons will decrease, but be offset by crimes/deaths committed by the rising use of exempted weapons. Utilizing the findings of Koper's 2004 Report on the AWB and the recent DOJ recommendations, including gun buyback, seems prudent. It will provide little consolation to the victims/survivors of the next senseless tragedy if the perpetrator's assault weapon was on the exempted list.

Cyan Dickirs
Cyan Dickirs5 years ago

cont'd Carla- By your logic (?) should I not have the choice of what to do with my own body? If pregnancy makes me more likely to be murdered, I want to protect my right to have my baby. My choice is to protect it by any means necessary, armed, as is my right under the Constitution, to be armed.

Cyan Dickirs
Cyan Dickirs5 years ago

Carla once again you missed the point and attempted to twist my words, and used specious, irrelevant unsupported claims.
Feinstein has no more risk, probably less than the rest of us, given her position and the armed guards she surrounds herself with.
Where do you get pregnancy is dangerous in most cases? Or even that pregnant women are more likely to be murdered? Few abortions are done to save the life of the mother. They are because of RvW, available on demand, for convenience of the mother because she does not want the baby for whatever reason. There are increasing numbers of 2nd and 3rd term abortions for convenience and the fetuses are cut up in the womb or the head delivered and a scapel thrust into the brain stem. Where is the outrage for killing a breathing baby, whose head is out of the womb? Far more fetuses are destroyed than children killed by guns wielded by madmen or criminals. Abortions can be more dangerous(statistically speaking) than completing a pregnancy. A woman's "choice" ? She has a choice to have sex or not. Very few (statistically speaking) rapes result in pregnancy.
More people die from hospital, doctor mistakes, than die from gun violence. More people die from drunk drivers than die from gun violence. That is not an accident. I won't go to a hospital or a doctor, because I have the choice of what to do with my body and I won't risk it by subjecting myself to the not so tender not so merciful not so healthy medical system. That is my choice.

Mark M.
Mark M5 years ago

The many and various ways to die have no relevance whatever to each other. All should be and usually are resisted where possible. The implication that because other ways to die exist it is OK for gun violence to go on is the logic of the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.
Further, it is idiotic to call Senator Feinstein a hypocrite if she owns a weapon. She is probably at much higher risk than most ‘ordinary’ people and more in need of self defense. This in no way belies her belief that gun laws should be improved.
So many of the arguments of the gun lobby are utterly illogical yet propounded with religious fervor. It is probably because in their heart of hearts they know they are in the wrong.

Carla van der Meer

Cyan D, when was the last time someone was accidentally killed walking past a hospital? And comparing abortion to gun deaths? You are reaching. Forcing women to remain pregnant is actually very dangerous as murder is the most common cause of death among pregnant women. and we won't even start with all of the potential short and long term complications. If you want to rant about people's right to carry potentially life ending weapons, shouldn't those same people have the right to decide what to do with their bodies?

Cyan Dickirs
Cyan Dickirs5 years ago

Hard cases make bad laws. Contrary to Pielko's latest stupid conclusion, we cannot afford to answer this tragedy by more gun laws/bans. She, along with other gun control advocates are using this tragedy for an unrelated agenda. Hospitals kill more people by mistakes than die from gun violence. (350k per yr) and how many pregnancies are ended by abortion (cutting up viable life in the womb and/or delivering the head and sticking a scapel into the brain stem or let the delivered baby, breathing, just die alone in a closet) Where is the outrage for the death of abused children, at the hands of parents, caregivers, strangers? No guns there.
Anybody remember that our infamous incompetent atty gen Holder forced gun dealers to sell guns to the Mexican Drug cartels? I guess he thought maybe they would just kill Mexicans; the collateral damage of US citizens (a missionary woman), border patrol and countless people didn't matter to him.
All calls for gun controls and bans are made by hypocrites like Feinstein who is armed at all times, and a violation of the bill of rights (2nd amendment). SCOTUS in a rare moment of rationality, said so. Now that BO has packed the court with the 2 incompetent, arrogant anti-constitution Kagan & Sotomayor(sp) we may be stripped of all rights not just arms if anything gets to SCOTUS.